Design & Technology

The Design & Technology department offers an invigorating, challenging and high quality creative experience. Lessons are interesting and relevant to women in the increasingly technological world in which we all live, such that pupils may be motivated to solve design challenges with an emphasis on the production of functional, useful and beautiful products.

Students are taught to appreciate the importance of design, technology, and engineering in their surroundings and to appreciate the value of aesthetics in the context of industrial design.

Design & Technology as a National Curriculum subject is developing rapidly to keep up with its increasingly vital role in our children’s future, with the emergence of new specifications at A-level and GCSE to commence in 2017. At NHEHS we believe that Design & Technology fosters creativity and problem-solving skills. Girls are taught to design and make products using a wide range of materials and techniques. We regularly update our design challenges, clubs and workshops to reflect the changes in technology and engineering, whilst maintaining the ‘soft’ side of design through a strong emphasis on creativity, visual culture and the philosophy of design.

We have a highly investigative approach to designing by learning through product disassembly, modelling, trial and error. CAD and CAM are used widely across the curriculum. There is a strong focus on ethical and environmentally conscious design within our teaching. We aim to practice what we preach by using sustainable suppliers such as Jennor Timber, who source wood from well managed forests. Girls are expected to have significant knowledge of new technologies in the broader context of design and engineering, including commercial manufacture. They are also expected to gain skill in and understand the more traditional strands of construction and graphic communication.

The department has close links with other GDST schools, as well as Old Girls and industry professionals in the fields of design, engineering, physics and architecture.

In Years 7 and 8 students study two periods of D&T per week for half the year, rotating with Computer Science. Girls develop their practical skills in a range of materials, as well as developing an understanding of the design process and the world of design and engineering. Projects include: the Aztec Jewellery competition, Pewter Casting, the Bridge challenge, the ‘Organise Me!’ construction project, the Great Women Designers presentation, and the Egg Drop challenge.

In Year 9, girls can elect to take D&T as one of their three creative subjects. They start to produce GCSE style portfolios with a strong focus on the philosophy of design and researching contemporary designers. With a focus on inter-material product design, students explore the concept of ‘Exciting Lighting’, making an articulated lamp. Girls’ are stretched with metacognition exercises to improve their problem solving, planning and independent time management. This is also their first experience of electronics. Girls in year 9 also experience a range of context-based design problems with a focus on ‘Design for Social Change’.

Students in Years 10 and 11 who chose D & T will follow the OCR GCSE Design & Technology course from September 2017. Students start the course with a Materials Study unit, making a new product every week. Throughout the course they will enjoy working with real clients, inter-material design without limitations, and context-based starting points. We look forward to the breadth and freedom the OCR course offers.

Sixth Form A Level students will be studying OCR A-level GCE Design & Technology from September 2017. In Year 12 they will complete a portfolio of projects in preparation for their final major project and examination in Year 13. Year 13 students create their own brief based on their personal interests and skills, but are expected to source their own ‘client’ and treat it as a live project.